Education | Germany govt. should invest in teaching before tech
Some German schools are lucky to have a single computer in classrooms; others boast all the latest gadgets. Researchers for Bertelsmann have called for larger investments in tech.A school with high-speed internet and computers for every student is a school that has fallen behind.
This problem has become acute in Germany, where digitization efforts have been slow and classroom technology varies widely.
According to a report released on Friday by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Germany must invest nearly € 3 trillion ($ 3.5 billion) a year in digital technology for schools if it wants to stay competitive globally.
“Digitization is the norm and a long-term task,” Jörg Dräger, director of the Bertelsmann Foundation, said on the report’s publication on Friday, calling for the federal government to give more money to local schools.
Accounting for computers, high-speed internet, hardware, software, technical support, and digital teaching tools, the price tag for Germany’s estimated 11 million students to $ 2 billion more than the Ministry of Education schools calls for.
Instead of teachers, ‘we get computers’
Dräger criticized officials for thinking of giving schools a lump sum of money rather than making a sustainable long-term commitment.
The study’s proposal – in essence also a chunk of money, but not training for teachers. A huge investment nice sounds, they old DW, but it could not turn into a real money problem.
“It’s a good idea,” the high school teacher Ingo Matthias said. “But we need to spend money on training teachers how to use it.”
The 49-year-old said, “A lot of students already come to school.” If they use technology in the classroom, it needs to be more effective and more effective.
One of our programs was given € 5,000 for this year, “he said.” That’s more money than we can spend, so it becomes a surplus. That is to say: We have a lot of books when we need them more. Instead of more employees we get books.
Instead of teachers, we get computers. “
Germany is currently suffering from a shortage. According to figures published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in September, more than 3,000 teaching positions are still needed at the start of the 2017/2018 school year.
Matter of priorities
At schools where the latest gadgets are the norm – for example, at a vocational school where computer science is taught – teachers already know the advantages of high-tech classrooms.
But even then, keeping up with the proper licenses, subscriptions and software updates has become a problem for teachers. The internet crashes often, too, Sarah, a trained teacher who was not used, told DW.
With so many problems plaguing Germany’s schools, the 33-year-old is more concerned about the issue.
Should the quality of education continue to fall in Germany, Sarah said, no one will really need to worry about digitization.
Like Matthias, she fears that officials could “throw a half-baked educational concept into the room and hope that everything will be OK.”